Monday, February 7, 2005

Our House- A History

Our Kensington Bungalow Posted by Hello

We've been living in this house for just over a year and in that time we have basically been voyers on other renoblogs. "The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax, of cabbages, and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings." Well put. Let's start at the beginning...

We think it's a 1920's era house, however we aren't certain. Knob and tube wiring, and evidence of a coal burning furnace are some clues to the era. It has around 1300sf of finished space, and a 800 s.f. basement, that is only about 6'8" tall.

So we bought this house. Beat out the other bidders by $1000. Great neighbourhood, park close by, schools, shopping. Chubbs was just 2 months old (and not yet known as The Chubb), and the Monkey was almost 4. On moving day, we get the keys from our loverly realtor and checked the place out. Wow, I couldn't belive how much better it looked without their furniture in it!!! There were, of course, some issues:

1. one of the attic bedrooms was walled in "O.S.B", and ceiling was just insulation.
2. the other attic bedroom had wallpaper-covered plywood over every surface.
3. really bad drywalling job in the master bedroom, and only bath.
4. the house settled a lot in just one corner of the house.
5. our yard was falling over into the neighbour's.
6. the windows don't open in the south facing living room.
7. the seal in the living room window is broken, creating condensation... yum!
8. previous owner took out a closet from the 4th bedroom/dining room and made a huge closet in the master bedroom without fixing the floor where the wall once stood. No closet door on the new closet, just curtains.
9. poor insulation.
10. oil heating, 1950's vintage
11. no dishwasher, an old ugly fridge, and an apartment sized stove.
12. blue carpet in the nook.
13. bright "American" blue painted on the cupboards.
14. latex over oil paint on trim.
15. douglas fir floors... pretty good in some places, not so much in others.
16. dirt up against the house- a sidewalk that was built above foundation level.
17. the driveway.
18. rats in the garage (thanks to the neighbours putting fish and chicken bones in their compost). 19. old wiring.
20. blue bells.
21. Rotten posts under the kitchen on thin concrete pads- carpenter ants, having a feast.

I could go on and on, but I think I'll stop there.

Even with all those flaws, and many more not listed, we love our little bungalow. Here's what we hope to acomplish once all the renos are done:

1. new old style kitchen (like in this wicked book), with a normal size gas stove.
2. put the closets back with built-ins in the bedroom and an office closet in the dining room.
3. a more level house.
4. basement suite.
5. warm in the winter, cool enough in the summer.
6. new wiring.
7. no more wallpaper, board and batton, and cracked plaster.
8. natural gas heating.
9. a second bathroom.
10. workshop area in the basement for woodworking and stained glass.
11. deck in the yard where the oil tank now stands.
12. refinished floors.
13. weeping tile, and rain barrel for when we hit the inevitable summer drought.
14. retaining wall.
15. well maintained garden with the blue bells under control.
16. stripped, sanded and stained trim throughout the house.
17. re-graded driveway
18. concrete pad in the garage (currently wooden planks under which the aforementioned rats live).
19. second window in the dining room for a view of the north shore mountains with a built in credenza underneath.
20. money left in the bank (ha! good luck!).

As you can see, there's much to do, and we've acomplished a lot in the last year. Over the next few weeks we'll be posting what we've done to date, and then continue on with what's cooking. We do hope that you'll visit often, ask questions, tell us what you think, and enjoy our little Kensington bungalow almost as much as we do!

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